April 29, 2016

Feminist Friday: Test Rape Kits. TEST RAPE KITS.

Last month, there was a mistrial in the case of a rapist in York County, South Carolina:

In March, bailiffs mistakenly placed Stewart in custody in the presence of the jury – which is potentially prejudicial against the suspect – so the trial was halted and rescheduled. 
Since that mistrial, the victim begged prosecutors and the judge to free her from having to testify about the agony of the night she was abducted close to the Winthrop campus in 2011, when Stewart held her at knifepoint, then took her to another parking lot and raped her.

The assault was absolutely terrifying:

Almost five years after a Winthrop University student was kidnapped, raped, and told by her attacker, “That’s why I gave you AIDS,” the convicted sex offender was sent to prison for eight years on Tuesday.

But perhaps the worst part was buried further into the story:

The victim told police in 2011 that she did not know her attacker after she sought help from Safe Passage, a center for victims of abuse. Police released a sketch of the attacker, but no arrests were made. 
The case “went cold” for almost four years, prosecutors said. 
Then, after a Winthrop student was raped and attacked on campus in an unrelated October 2014 incident, Rock Hill police reopened the 2011 cold case. The sex assault kit sent for testing came back as a match for Stewart’s DNA. Because of his North Carolina conviction and sex offender status, Stewart’s DNA was in a federal felon database.

Three years. The rape kit sat around, with DNA sample, for three years. Even if Stewart wasn't already in the federal felon database at the time of her assault, having the DNA sample may have produced a result when he was added. And if he already was, they missed identifying a rapist and getting him off of the street for three years because they did not test the rape kit.

I don't have anything snarky, or funny, or pithy, or witty to say about this. All I have to say is this:


Test the rape kits.




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